You only realise the addiction to a materialistic instrument once it is gone. You can’t comprehend the need of that utensil, how much it defines your existence, as if it is a part of your body, an extension, a technical limb, until you can’t feel it in your hands anymore, until its texture has no more contact with your palpability, until you search for it everywhere around the room, in all the bags, but it is never to be found again.
And imagine being ripped off, that part of your body being just taken away from your construction, and your chance to react being abolished. This feeling is one that I would rather not have experienced myself. The only positive effect it can have is to accentuate the importance of having every piece of your data backed up, and also always be prepared for the worst scenario and to let yourself not be guided by mistrust.
This is what I have felt after having my phone stolen.
Quite funny, because I have always considered myself a negative person due to the fact that I tend to expect the worst in order to protect myself from disappointment. Still, fate and paths modify constantly, in a permanent state of fluidity, and the simple decision of going for the tramway instead of waiting for the bus irreversibly changed that course.
It is a permanent risk you willingly come in contact with when travelling alone, when being far from home, in a foreign country, when always in search of different experiences and when hungry for tasting all the flavours. But having my wallet stolen last week, together with every personal modality of identification, made me believe that something worse cannot happen, for at least I have the phone with me, and without a phone one is lost in our contemporary society. Well, apparently, the lesson has not been learned by me yet and taking care of personal objects is a rather difficult task. While having a wallet stolen from the bag is a simple, an understandable, common event, having the phone stolen in an instant from the hand, in the tramway, and the seconds needed for comprehension before the door is being closed with you trapped inside, can easily produce feelings of frustration and a turbulent state of impotence.
For days after, all I heard was that it is just a phone, just an object that can be replaced. I cannot define myself as a materialistic person, I am rather minimalist and can be satisfied with a book, as long as I find myself in nature. But at this moment, I find it difficult to define myself at all. Being stripped of so many objects that represent my personality in some form and with all the personal information in the hands of strangers, I find it really difficult to keep myself together. But the most painful fact for a photography enthusiast, for a person who puts so much time and attention in every picture, for whom a snap is more than just an edit, not having any modality to take back seven weeks in the magnificent Greece is like simply erasing my thoughts.
It’s not about the money or the phone as an object itself; I would instantly give the money or the phone to that person, as long as I was able to get my data back. What disturbs me at the moment and with what I need to learn to live with, is the idea of a world so cruel that it neglects your existence, your whole identity. Is this really an idea, so abstract? Maybe I can consider myself lucky, for being isolated from this reality for almost my whole life. Maybe I can even consider myself opportune to have been taught of how rough it can get and how important it is to be aware that being alone in a foreign place (as a young woman especially) requires carefulness. The fact that I am not able to consider myself in danger, for not being against feminism, but for not thinking of myself as sensitive, as naïve, just for being a female, for trusting my instinct and for thinking of myself as strong enough to protect myself might have made me an easy victim. What follows is my understanding that whatever I thought I knew, needs to be revisited.
What one needs when confronted with such a situation, is time. Time to create again all the functional instruments needed for existing in societies (like ID cards and phones), but also time to accept that maybe it is not your fault. But, at the same time, maybe you can prevent it in the future. Perhaps it’s time to let go of the past, for it is gone forever. It’s time to accept that what is lost can never be replaced and time but there should be willingness to start again, from scratch. There will be time to trust others again, to look into somebody's eyes (an activity which I have never been good at), time to understand that not everybody is kind or has good intentions, and even time to realise that you cannot be defined by some photographic material. You are much more and much more is about to come, for life is a rollercoaster and climbing up a hill will inevitably mean having to go back down with it too, but you’re bound to climb back up again.
About the author:
With a passion for culture, psyche, exploring the world, and coming in contact with an infinite number of stories, I studied theatre, film and media, in sociology, along with writing at the University of Vienna. I tend to find beauty in every single element, while always attempting to fully live every experience, to archive it in the form of photography and written word. Not one day goes by for me without a journalistic discovery, an interview recorded or articles structured. If I would have to set a goal for the future, it would be to find an equilibrium between constant academic research and my engagement in international opportunities. My desired engagement is on a multidisciplinary level, in a never-ending journey while also trying to discover the fluidity of the self, complementing the world around me with the goal of having a small impact in pressing global issues.